When the Key Clicks: A Poem About Close Reading

close reading button

I’ve been joining Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts in a Blogathon as they explore Close Reading skills. The other day, I was writing with my students and began this poem, thinking of that moment when something “clicks” with a piece of text.

When the Key Clicks

with this text –
I seek to break the code.
Contained, confused, confounded
by intent: I’m spent!
And more than a bit belligerent towards this writer
whose words spiral around meaning like
a swirling subterfuge of ideas just out of reach
when I’m not gleaming anything …
Until …
Until ..
Until somehow the key clicks.
Perhaps it was a word you said
or a question you asked
or another angle on which to lay my head upon this table.
For suddenly, I’m awake for the very first time, seeing
beneath the lines
between the words.
I unfold this story in all of its glory
as if I’d just turned a child’s simple drawing
upside down
inside out
only to discover a masterpiece hidden beneath
to be explored.

And the podcast:


Peace (in the light bulb moments),

  1. Exactly how it goes, Kevin. What a wonderful description of this: “a swirling subterfuge of ideas just out of reach”. And of that teacher whose words are helping! Thanks!

  2. Kevin,
    Working on a PD session on Close Reading for educators, I came across your poem. This is the perfect place to end my session-letting the teacher inside the learner’s mind. Great job! I will share and credit you. Thanks.

  3. Kevin, your poem was well-received by the SHS teachers that I was working with this week. Kudos to you!

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